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0407 PD: Yevet Tenney: The Round Table

Yevet Tenney Published on 02 April 2007

Lately I feel the need to laugh! My life is a tangled web of one problem after another. I worry about the stupidity of politics. I worry about the war! I worry about the kids, I worry about the educational system, I worry about the housework and the price of gasoline. There is so much to worry about; I feel overwhelmed.

I turn on the TV for a bit of relaxation to find the networks have even taken off the re-runs of Gilligan’s Island, and I’m not sure when I Love Lucy comes on.

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I flip through the channels and its one long sordid scene of flat tummies and weight control commercials. I am disgusted because weight control is a sore subject, and when I see how my pear shape compares to the Twiggy dancing around the volleyball net, I see red! I get so mad I want to send those skimpy suits a care package of long camel hair underwear and 20 pounds fat-enriched chocolate. Who decided what the perfect body should look like? I vote for the naked lady above the bar in Western movies. That is closer to my perfection.

When I find a comedy on TV, the humor isn’t hilarious. Who needs to laugh with all the canned laughter telling me that I should find humor in something that really should be in the garbage can? So I will rebel.

Years ago I wrote a play for a troop of Cub Scouts to perform. It is not intellectual or politically correct, but it’s good for a laugh, even if you discuss the grammar. Let me take you back to King Arthur’s court with, The Round Table.....

MERLIN: I suppose I ought to confess how it really happened. Wart wasn’t always King Arthur the great. There were times when I had to shake my head and wonder if he would ever be any kind of a king, let alone a great one. Why I remember the incident of the round table. You know the one he’s famous for?

Well, it happened this way. Arthur invited all his knights for supper. And you know how it is when grown men get around the table for a meal . . . well maybe you don’t. Here, let me do a little magic and show you the whole thing.

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Merlin waves his arms and chants

MERLIN: Wala in toe needles, stop of a hat win, not do shin stuff and one three-eyed bat. Shimmney! Shimmney! Wah lah! Take that!

Three knights somersault on stage and sprawl in different directions on the floor. King Arthur enters majestically and then slips and falls.

ARTHUR (Falling): Ahhhhhhhh! Ouch!

Servant enters carrying the crown.

SERVANT: Your majesty, Sir. Are you all raaaaaaaaaahhhh? Ouch!

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The servant slips and falls still holding the crown.

ARTHUR: Who greased the floor?

Rosa, the cook, enters. She is plump and fluttery like a huge bird.

ROSA: Senior Majesty, why are you on zee floor?

ARTHUR: Somebody greased the floor.

SERVANT (pointing at Rosa): She did it.

ROSA: Oh, no, Senior Majesty. I wax it! I wax it everyday weeth bee’s wax. Doesn’t shee look pretty?

Arthur stands up rubbing his behind.

ARTHUR: Yes, she looks pretty. But please tell me when you wax the floor. Hurry along. My guests are here. We need dinner.

ROSA: Deenner?

SERVANT: Yes, he said dinner.

ROSA: You mean deener? vhat deener?

ARTHUR: Didn’t anyone tell you my knights were coming?

ROSA: Oh sure, sure! I heard your nights vere coming, but zee night comes every night. Vee all have many nights coming until ve get very old. Den ve vill have no more nights.

ARTHUR: Not nights, Knights! Knights! Sir Galahad, Sir Lancelot, Sir Dinadan. Each knight stands up as his name is said

ROSA: Dees are nights? You call dees nights? Oh, Senior Majesty, your mother deed not teach you vel! Dees are men!

ARTHUR: They are knights!

SERVANT: He means knights.

SIR GALAHAD: Excuse me, sir, let me speak to her. Madam, we are men but we are called Knights.

ROSA: You are called nights?

SIR GALAHAD: Yes.

ROSA: Dat is very strange . . . Rosa laughs and slaps Sir Galahad on the back.

ROSA: Oh, I geet eet! This is a joke, no?

SIR GALAHAD: No.

ROSA: No vhat?

SIR GALAHAD: No, this is not a joke!

SERVANT: He said it was not a joke. Get it?

ROSA: No. Sir Lancelot steps up.

SIR LANCELOT: Your Majesty, perhaps I can explain.

ARTHUR: Please do.

SIR LANCELOT: Madam, listen very carefully, and I will explain. Sometimes men have many names. Knight is just another name that we use to tell others that we are valiant and great.

ROSA: You have to tell others that you are valiant and great? Dees is not good. Vun is not supposed to tell vhen day do someting great. My mother tell me dis when I was just a snapper-whipper.

SIR LANCELOT: A what?

ROSA: A snapper-whipper.

SERVANT: Whipper-snapper!

SIR DINADAN: She means whipper-snapper. All of the knights look at each other with a puzzled expression.

SIR DINADAN: You know, whipper-snapper?

ARTHUR: No, but it doesn’t matter. We need to have dinner. Rosa, where is the food?

ROSA: In zee keetchen, Your Majesty.

ARTHUR: Could you serve it please? My knights are hungry.

ROSA: Dees men who are called night? Dees men who have to tell everbody dat day are good?

SIR LANCELOT: No, we do not tell people that we are good. Most of the time people don’t know what we do. We use the title of knight to let people know that we are a certain type of man. We do certain things.

ROSA: Eef dees people do not know vhat you do, den you could do nothing and day would never know.

SIR DINADAN: Dat. . .

SERVANT: That.

SIR DINADAN: I mean . . . that . . . that’s right!

ROSA: Oh, I geet eet. You do not vant people to know vat you do; so you do it in zee night. I see . . . but eet seems to me dat eet would be less confusing to call yourselves zee dark men instead of nights.

SIR GALAHAD: No, no, no! You have it all wrong.

ARTHUR: Never mind, Rosa go get the table and the food.

ROSA: Si, Majesty. She bows and exits.

ARTHUR: Get the chairs The knights and servant get the chairs and set them as if there were a table.

ARTHUR: I will sit at the head of the table.

SIR DINADAN: I will sit next to you.

SIR GALAHAD: No, it is better that I sit there.

SIR LANCELOT: It is my place, Your Majesty.

ARTHUR: Who is the best fighter?

SIR DINADAN: I killed seven dragons yesterday.

SIR GALAHAD: I killed six, and I saved one damsel in distress.

SIR LANCELOT: I killed six, and fought with eight. I also cleaned out the stable. That counts for something.

ARTHUR: Who is the best at speaking?

SIR DINADAN: I am, Your Majesty. I have spoken to many soldiers, and they have obeyed me. I am the best speaker.

SIR GALAHAD: Certainly that is not true. I have spoken to kings in many lands, and they all praised me for my eloquence.

SIR LANCELOT: Once I talked my mother out of giving me a spanking. That counts for something.

ARTHUR: That is true. Enter Rosa and Merlin with a table. All of the knights scramble for one chair and sit one on top of each other.

ROSA: What ees dis?

ARTHUR: They all want to sit by me.

ROSA: Eet seems to me dat it would be better to sit in many chairs eenstead of jus von.

SIR GALAHAD: But I am the best knight and deserve to sit by the king.

SIR DINADAN: No, I am.

SIR LANCELOT: I am.

SIR GALAHAD: I am. The knights start to fight. Merlin hands Rosa the broom. She takes after them.

ROSA: Hush! Stop dat! You are worse dan cheeldren. Stand up! Look sharp! The knights stand in a line as stiff as soldiers at attention while Rosa shakes the broom at them.

ROSA: You are very bad boys. Your mother vould not be proud. No vonder you like to do tings in zee dark. Now seet down and act like gentlemen!

SIR LANCELOT: Where do we sit?

ROSA: None of you deserve to seet by zee king. Merlin go geet a round table. Dat vay everyone will be away from zee king.

ARTHUR: Ah, hah! A round table. That’s a great idea! I’ll take it. Merlin get the round table. Everyone freezes but Merlin.

MERLIN: And he did take the idea, and to this very day he has been known as King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. And nobody remembers Rosa, who really came up with the idea in the first place. But such is history; the really great ones end up doing their work in the dark and no one remembers them. PD

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